Living The Dream In Pattaya – Bryan Flowers
The Interview with Bryan Flowers that was the opening piece for this column has been removed at the interviewee’s request.
Where Was This Photo Taken?
Last week’s photo was taken of a small sidewalk street vendor operation on Sukhumvit soi 22, opposite the wonderful No Idea. This week’s photo is tricky – it was taken outside of Thailand, but I am confident that a good few readers will get it right, such is the brilliance of the Stickman community. Many thanks to reader Paul who kindly sent this photo in and offered it up as a novel mystery photo.
FROM STICK’S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.)
Why she makes the rules.
Fxxx love, I’ve got food – the statement from this week’s column reminds me of a time 4 years ago on the skytrain. It was near the stop that accesses the airport line, about 9 PM. I saw a woman wearing a T-shirt-like dress, one-piece, with the slogan, “I’ve got the pussy, I make the rules“. The writing was in large letters in several lines all the way down the shirt. I still laugh every time I think about it. I wish I had a photo!
Girl of the week.
What a choice for girl of the week! Not a fan of that look at all. I wish you could pop off her head and Photoshop another head on to that lovely body. That red hair looks hideous to me. I imagine she was much nicer in person but from the unnatural hair, to the vampire-like eyes to the metal braces, I can never understand how a Thai woman thinks that’s an improvement over what her genetics gave her. Unbelievable.
Pattaya short-time room crackdown.
Pattaya’s numbskull soi 6 “crackdown” (nixing use of short-time rooms, thus forcing punters to take their dates somewhere else) isn’t even a Pyrrhic victory. Have they affected the profession in Pattaya? Of course not. It’s more reminiscent of recent immigration “crackdowns” in the USA, where people who look Indian or Middle Eastern are arbitrarily detained or turned away. The main difference is that at some point Pattaya’s wrong-headed policy will likely disappear – meanwhile, the dainty nymphettes of Soi 6 call out in vain to a dwindling supply of would-be mongers in search of a quick “bite.”
Paper-cup served brews.
It’s not a public holiday but I’m still drinking an afternoon pint at The Game out of a paper cup. Apparently the fun police have been around to say no alcohol is to be consumed in the open air parts of the bar outside the allowed liquor sales times i.e. the times when the beer fridge is locked at 7 Eleven stores. I work around here and consider this bar a bit of a barometer of the high season. Up to the end of last week it seemed really busy. Today, dead. The mind boggles at some of this random enforcement.
Cheap Chinese love Thailand.
Those Chinese who visit Thailand are doing it on the cheap. They come on all-inclusive trips, spend every day on a coach visiting various tourist hot spots etc. They are the Chinese version of Europeans who go to Benidorm on a package holiday, because it is cheap for them as they are not rich. These people are not used to travelling abroad and have no idea how to conduct themselves outside their own culture. On the other hand, the Chinese going to Dubai must have money since it is obviously more expensive. One can assume them to be more “hi-so” and probably better travelled and better aware of how to conduct themselves outside their own community. This phenomena is also true of others who have suddenly got the freedom and the money to travel abroad i.e. they have never had to conduct themselves outside their own communities and fail to observe local customs, traditions etc, thereby being rude and upsetting locals along with offending travellers from other countries who have more experience of different cultures. Look at the behaviour of the Eastern Bloc countries’ populations when they started travelling.
When I came through Immigration with my marriage visa, the officer looked through every page of my passport, asked me where I was going, and when I said Kalasin he demanded to know which amphur. I told him and added, “like I wrote on the form!” Then he asked me if I was married to a Thai before tossing the passport back to me. In China they have buttons by the Immigration desk you can push to express degrees of satisfaction. I can understand why Thailand hasn’t got the same.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!
I was married to a Thai woman for 12 years in a foreign country. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t stash away some money. I didn’t figure out she was stashing money away until after we were divorced. She was working and contributing towards the house, but she was also saving money on the side. Can you imagine how much money she stashed after 12 years? Of course in the divorce she got more $$! I would advise all males married to a Thai to start stashing $$, because she probably is.
Girl Of The Week
Kate, escort with BangkokDreamsGirlEscort.com
Also available through Smooci
The foot eased off the accelerator further this past week as visitor numbers dropped a tad around the popular farang bar areas on Sukhumvit.
Bar bosses deserve a bit of time when taking over a bar to get things up to speed which is one reason I think it is unfair to review a bar in its first or second week. It has been a few months since Bacarra and co. took over Suzy Wong. I hate to say that the new Suzy Wong is not to my taste. For starters, either earmuffs mightn’t be a bad idea or someone needs to get the DJ to turn the volume knob a long way left. But that is not the problem and neither are the 190 baht drinks – although that is just too steep, in my opinion. The real problem is on stage where it’s hard to imagine a more bored-looking and seemingly disinterested bunch of dancers (and dancers hardly seems like an appropriate word because few dance and some barely even bother to shuffle). Watching the Suzy Wong gogo dancers is like watching a YouTube video – there is no eye contact and zero expectation that any of the ladies will so much as smile at you and you feel you’re not even in the same room. I wish the bar luck.
Cactus in Soi Cowboy was just as well-known as an old-style gogo bar as it was for former American owner John’s fine cooking. The word is that John will open a restaurant on Sukhumvit and given the reputation he has for fine American home-style cooking, it will be worth looking forward to. One rumour has it that he will set up on Sukhumvit soi 31, but that remains unconfirmed.
Once upon a time many of the girls working on Soi Cowboy used to live upstairs and some bars used to have quite the contingent with dozens sleeping on the premises, sharing a cramped space together. Amongst the bars where girls live today are Tilac which allows new arrivals to stay above the bar until they have saved enough money to get a room of their own. Across the soi, Cactus makes space available for girls who prefer to stay close to their workplace and Long Gun still has quite a contingent living on the premises too.
Speaking of Cactus, I am told that the current line-up does not feature a single tattoo. Whether that is by design or by chance, I do not know.
Why do so many bars in Nana Plaza start the night with the classic ’80s song, The Final Countdown by Europe? Did one bar boss start the trend and a bunch of others follow or did many come up with the idea all on their own?
This coming Friday is St Paddy’s Day so expect Irish-themed celebrations across town.
When you buy a pint of Guinness at Stumble Inn in Soi Nana on Saint Patrick’s Day, you will get a FREE helping of Irish Stew from 7 PM until it’s all gone. If you have a Bangkok Funcard you will save 25% off every pint of Guinness. The Bangkok Funcard costs just 200 baht from Stumble Inn and it is valid for, umm, err, life.
If you like music from the ’80s and glam rock, the consistently popular Mandarin on the middle floor in Nana Plaza might take your fancy.
A reader has mentioned a special at the popular hostess bar Cosmos Club in Patpong Soi 2 where 2 bottles of Grants 8-year-old whisky runs just 1,500 baht – a bargain given that mixers are included. Apparently, the special has been in place for a week or two. I am told that Grants goes for 950 baht a bottle in local supermarkets which would make this a great deal if Grants is to your liking.
The cheapest beers in a Patpong gogo bar can be found in Thigh bar on Patpong soi 2 where those on a tight budget can get draft beer at just 60 baht, and a number of local beers run just 100 baht all night long.
You wouldn’t say that the green light has been given for Pattaya soi 6 bars to allow customers to use the short-time rooms, but rather that officials are looking the other way. After the rooms were out of commission last week, it’s business as usual this week. With that said, a mate who invited one of the ladies in a soi 6 bar to go upstairs with him was asked if he was a cop. The soi 6 maidens remain cautious, especially of those who aren’t regulars.
The Immigration Department has erected signs in the arrivals hall at Suwannaphum so when queuing at Passport Control there is an estimate of how long the wait will be.
A new men’s clinic is due to open on Soi Thonglor tomorrow, He Clinic For Him. It’s a farang-owned venture with various services offered specifically for men including treatment for ED issues, hair loss, testosterone replacement, loss of libido etc. But what the clinic hopes to become known for is penis enlargement. Using techniques pioneered by French plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Diacakis, the marketing officer described it to me as a 30% increase in size in 30 minutes. The procedure sees a solution injected in to your flaccid member which increases its girth and the effect lasts for 12 – 18 months. The cost is 150K baht. Those behind the clinic believe there will be much demand.
Many expats are stuck in Thailand and their financial situation doesn‘t allow them to return to the West. There are also those who no longer enjoy living in Thailand, who would like to go somewhere else and do have the money to make the move – but they just don’t know where to go. Thailand expats have traditionally looked at neighbouring countries but I get the impression that many are more aware that the issues they face in Thailand are little different in the likes of the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam. Southern Europe and South America are often mentioned with Portugal and Argentina near the top of the list. But again, deep down I think that those with itchy feet know that a new country means another set of visa rules, a new language to learn and no doubt a whole new set of issues to deal with. As we get older, I think the desire to uplift our life and relocate diminishes. So despite the fact that many have the means to move on from Thailand and some really do want out, the fact that they cannot find an alternative that they are confident will be an improvement means they find themselves back at square one….and stay put.
A small non-descript restaurant on lively Soi Rangnam – just south of Victory Monument -soared to fame some 15+ years ago when the Bangkok Post’s legendary Night Owl columnist Bernard Trink raved about its hamburger and, if my memory serves me right, declared it the best burger in all of Bangkok. Tida Isarn leapt on that and a banner went up outside. An Isaan food outlet, it offered the usual farang favourites too. I stopped by a couple of times many years ago based on Trink’s comments. It was ok. Tida Isarn developed quite a following – I imagine more so with those in the neighbourhood as I am not sure the burgers were worth crossing town for but it did have something of a following amongst the expat populace back in the day. I am told that the eatery which Bernard Trink put on the map recently closed its doors for the last time.
Following on from last week’s comments about how Immigration officers are asking more travellers about their travel plans, particularly those with a bunch of back to back visits to Thailand, it pays to know what the actual rules are regarding entry requirements and grounds for refusal when entering Thailand. While the enforcement of the rules may be stricter these days, the actual rules have not changed and have been on the books for a long time. You’re supposed to have proof of onward travel within the period of the time you will be permitted to stay – so if you arrive without a visa and qualify for a 30-day visa waiver, you need proof of travel outside the country within that period. Next, you need proof of lodging such as a hotel booking. And finally you need proof of sufficient funds to finance your stay which is a rather light 10,000 baht if you qualify for visa exempt entry or 20,000 baht if you have a tourist visa. Those denied entry are usually unable to meet some or all of the criteria. It all appears to be random so hope that the Immigration officer who processes you is not having a bad day!
And still on the topic of immigration and visa matters, one business owner faced a bizarre requirement when applying to extend his visa on the grounds that they work here. He was told that he had to provide photos that feature the visa applicant, at least four of his staff and – the crazy part – the lawyer who is handling the documents and submitting the paperwork!
From across the border in Cambodia come a few updates. First, an update on the Phnom Penh charity Toy Run promoted in this column back in January. It was fairly successful and about $US 1,100 was raised to buy furniture, food, and various other items.
In other news, Street 130 – referred to now in town as The Block – is being developed as something of a high-end hostess bar area – but with similar pricing to the longer running bars on Street 136. To be fair, some bars on 136 are getting a facelift too.
Progress is still slow at the Phnom Penh branch of the American wings and
boobs beers bar, Hooters. They finally have the windows in but no-one thinks it will open for a good few months yet.
On top of the recently opened Dragonfly bar (next to Honey Pot), a new bar, Sensations, has opened in what was once a hotel. After an extensive renovation the new bar features a slate pool table (a rarity in Cambodia) in a separate parlour room. The doors have opened and the official grand opening party is scheduled for next Saturday, March 18 which will be celebrated with a free BBQ. The same group is planning on building and expanding a couple of other bars on the same side of the street. The hope is to eventually make Street 130 as well-known as Street 136, albeit a little more upscale – but without the sort of premium prices you expect in more upmarket venues.
Quote of the week comes from a mate in Cambodia planning a get-away to Bangkok, “I think I am the only person in the world who goes to Thailand to cut down on my drinking and take a break from shagging!”
Reader’s story of the week is another sad tale of woe from a foreigner who married the wrong Thai woman, “Paying For It“.
A New York Times article looks at a family’s medical holiday to Thailand.
The classic, beautiful, Thai-style Dusit Thani Hotel is to get the wrecking ball in 2018.
A watch seller detains a Ruskie who pockets a timepiece from his store without paying for it.
Great fear is held for the young Russian female missing on Ko Tao.
There are fears for the safety of yet another young Westerner who has gone missing in Thailand.
Ask Sunbelt Legal
Sunbelt Legal Advisors is here to answer any legal questions you have related to Thailand. Drop me an email and I will forward your questions to Sunbelt Legal and run their response in the next column.
Question 1: In November, 2014, a condominium unit was transferred to a new owner. The usual declarations were made by the Juristic Person of the condominium that there were no debts associated with the room and the declaration was accepted by the Land Office and shown on the transfer papers. About the same time a management company was appointed to run the condominium. Shortly after the room was transferred in 2014, the Juristic Person and an office worker were dismissed after money was found to be missing. These people were ordered by a Thai court to repay the money in instalments, but I understand that they have defaulted on the payments. In January, 2015, I signed a lease on the room. The lease does not specify who is responsible for paying the common fee. I then started receiving debit notes to the effect that I owed the common fee that was due from 2012 – 2013. The total demand, with interest, is now some 20,000 baht. I have made representations to the management company and the committee, but the debit notes continue to be issued in my name. The office manager has told me that ‘it is their accounting system and when the ‘borrowed’ money is repaid the debt will be cancelled’.
Please could Sunbelt Asia tell me who is legally responsible for payment of the 2012 – 2013 common fee under these circumstances. If I am not responsible for the debt, what can I do to stop the debit notes being issued in my name?
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds: The tenant is usually not responsible for common fees that were incurred prior to the lease agreement. The common fees would normally be owed by the owner, but you would need to check your current lease agreement and check with the new owner as to his contract with the previous owner. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can review these documents for you and write a letter for the condo juristic person informing them to remove the debt notices.
Question 2: If divorcing (consensual, both parties agree), but Thai lady continually no-shows on agreed-upon meeting to go to Amphur (District Office), do I need to go to a District Office myself and file something to get the ball rolling and cover my ass?
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds: It is not possible to get a divorce at the District Office if the Thai spouse will not sign the agreement. In this case you would need to go to the court and file for divorce citing one of the 10 reasons outlined by law as reasons to file for divorce.
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can assist you in filing for divorce in Thailand with the courts and ensure that you remain protected during the divorce proceedings.
I hope this week’s girl of the week is more to most readers’ taste than last week’s. The red-headed lady last week caused a good few readers to express surprise at the choice of lady featured. Unfortunately, the most attractive ladies are often amongst those who prefer not to be photographed. I am not going to take one reader’s suggestion and rename that section of the column to Girl Of The Weak!
Your Bangkok commentator,